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Sat 9 Jul 2011 03:51 PM

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Al Ahli star Fabio Cannavaro announces retirement

World Cup winner from Italy quits football aged 37 because of a recurring knee injury

Al Ahli star Fabio Cannavaro announces retirement
Fabio Cannavaro photographed when he joined Dubai-based Al Ahli football club. (ITP Images)

Former World Player of the Year Fabio Cannavaro retired on Saturday
five years to the day since captaining Italy to World Cup glory.

The 37-year-old, who stepped down from Italy duty after last
year's humbling World Cup group stage exit as holders, has ended his
time with Dubai's Al Ahli because of a recurring knee injury.

"It's a sad day since football has been very much part of my life
for the last 20 years, but then there is nothing I could do," the
former Parma, Juventus, Inter Milan and Real Madrid player told
reporters.

"I have decided to stop playing after a medical examination in
Italy last week. Doctors have told me clearly that I can no longer play.

"Injuries are part of a sportsman's life, but then life moves on.
Every sportsperson in the world has to make a decision one day. And
today is the day for me."

He is the only defender to win the FIFA World Player award after
his calm, authoritative captaining and defensive play led Italy to glory
in 2006.

Four years on however and he looked a completely different player
in South Africa last year with age catching up with him and exposing
his lack of height and pace.

Cannavaro, who had signed a two-year deal with Al Ahli in June
last year, made 16 appearances for the Dubai club and scored two goals.

He will continue with the club as a technical advisor and brand ambassador as part of a three-year agreement.

"I am really happy that the club has offered me a new contract. I
can't say at this moment what exactly my role would be, but I am very
excited with the new offer," he said.

"My family and I feel at home in Dubai."

Saeed Al Naboodah, chairman of Al Ahli, said: "We are really
disappointed that Fabio cannot play for our club. He enjoys an
impressive CV and we are delighted to continue our association with
him."

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